Check Out These Vintage Awards Show Photos – Esquire

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Here are some of the coolest moments from Awards seasons past.
In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented to some of the great actors and filmmakers in the burgeoning movie business. It was broadcast on the radio in 1930, and became a TV sensation later on in 1953. Now the awards show is practically its own viewing genre, with fans loving the glamour of the red carpet, witty hosts, and emotional speeches. Here are some incredible old photos from award shows throughout the years.
Conrad Nagel is presenting the Canadian actress Norma Shearer an Oscar for her role in The Divorcee. She was the first actress to be nominated for five Academy Awards, and built up an impressive filmography before her 1942 retirement.
Fans today think the Academy Awards have an anti-comedy bias, but comedy films and actors have been well-honored in Oscars of the past. Back at the 4th annual Oscars, Legendary comedy actress Marie Dressler won the Best Actress award in 1931 for the comedy Min and Bill. Lionel Barrymore on the right balances out this pairing, winning for his performance as an alcoholic defense attorney in the drama film A Free Soul.
The English actor Charles Laughton left his mark on the form through his many-year career from the 1920s to the 60s. The actor Daniel Day-Lewis has called Laughton a key inspiration for him. He said in this interview that Laughton “had something quite remarkable. His generosity as an actor; he fed himself into that work. As an actor, you cannot take your eyes off him.”
Two massive stars of the era met onstage here when Claudette Colbert won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the screwball comedy romance It Happened One Night directed by Frank Capra. Presenter Shirley Temple was also awarded a mini Oscar statue in honor of her work as a child actress.
It Happened One Night is one of three films to win all major Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The other two are One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs.
Even back in the 1930s, the Academy loved a good biopic. This film, a fictionalized account of the life of legendary scientist Louis Pasteur, received an award for Paul Muni’s lead performance, and the screenplay written by Pierre Collings, Sheridan Gibney and Edward Chodorov (uncredited).
Screen legend Bette Davis won her first of two total Oscars for her role as a down-and-out actress in Dangerous. She was also the first thespian in the history of the Oscars to get ten nominations over her 50-year career.
Walt Disney, accompanied by presenter Shirley Temple, won an honorary Oscar trophy, which was accompanied by seven other smaller statuettes representing Snow White’s dwarves from the classic animated film.
The Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen brought his puppet sidekick, holding a wooden Oscar, to the 10th Academy Awards in 1938. Bergen was a major inspiration to Jim Henson, who would go onto create The Muppets.
The legendary director Frank Capra (right) won the Best Director and Best Picture awards for his film adaptation of the romantic comedy play You Can’t Take It With You.
Hattie McDaniel’s role in Gone with the Wind made her the first African American winner of the Academy Award in 1940. Due to segregation laws at the time, McDaniel wasn’t allowed to attend the premiere of the film, and was also could not sit alongside her white co-stars at the Oscars ceremony.
These two won the Best Actor & Actress Awards for The Philadelphia Story and Kitty Foyle respectively.
Bergman won her first of three Oscars for the psychological thriller film Gaslight. The film was nominated for seven total Oscars and also won for Best Production Design.
Crawford’s comeback role in Mildred Pierce after a slow period of her career won her an Oscar for Best Actress, but she was too ill to attend the ceremony.
Lucille Ball won several Primetime Emmy Awards for her groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy, and she’s photographed here taking home an award at the 5th annual Emmy Awards in 1953.
The actress Leslie Caron presents an Oscar to a Japanese government official in celebration of Akira Kurasowa’s masterful psychological thriller/crime film Rashomon.
Ball and her then-husband Desi Arnaz won four total Emmys over the show’s six season run, and Ball was later inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1984.
A great supporting part can last longer in your memory than the lead. Both Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed were awarded the Supporting Performance Oscars for their roles in From Here To Eternity.
The actor and humorist George Gobel won an Emmy Award for Outstanding New Personality. Not only did he host his own show, but he was a regular on panel shows like Hollywood Squares and performed routines and did interviews on tons of classic variety shows including The Carol Burnett Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
The broadcasting legend Ed Sullivan was honored with an Emmy Award in 1956 for his work hosting the variety show The Ed Sullivan Show, which ran weekly from 1948 to 1971.
Miyoshi Umeki was the first East-Asian actress to win an Oscar, for the drama Sayonara. Her onscreen fiancé in the film, Red Buttons, also won that night.
Jazz pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington won three Grammy Awards at the 2nd ever annual ceremony. He won 12 Grammys out of 22 nominations for his contributions to film soundtracks, solo performances, as well as large jazz group bands.
Leigh wore this incredible red carpet look at the 32nd Academy Awards ceremony, and she would coincidentally get nominated the very next year for her performance in Psycho.
Elizabeth Taylor in the center won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for a role she disliked, a call girl in the drama BUtterfield 8, which was also her last film for the studio MGM. The other winners here are Burt Lancaster and Shirley Jones who both won for their performances in the film Elmer Gantry.
Here we see (from left to right) Robert Wise, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris, who all won Academy Award trophies for the film adaptation of West Side Story.
Here, Joan Crawford presents Austrian-Swiss actor Maximillian Schell the Oscar for Best Actor for The Judgement at Nuremberg. The film was a fictionalized version of one of the Nuremberg War Trials, and Schell played defense attorney Hans Rolfe. Schell himself was a refugee of Nazi Germany, having to flee from Austria and resettle in Switzerland when it was annexed in 1938.
The incredible writer and host of The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling, won 7 Emmy Awards, and was also inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1985.
Musicians Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba won Grammys for their album An Evening With Harry/Miriam, which was one of many collaborations between the two artists. The album featured five songs by Belafonte, five by Makeba and two duets, and were the artists’ takes on traditional African songs. It won the Best Folk Record award at the Grammy Awards.
Here, the legendary Pianist and Singer-Songwriter Ray Charles is being honored with a Grammy for his cover of Buck Owens’ song Crying Time. Charles won a total of 17 Grammy Awards out of a whopping 37 nominations.
The amazing actress Mary Tyler Moore, who got her start on The Dick Van Dyke Show and then starred in her eponymous Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was nominated and won Emmys for both shows, and was later nominated for an Oscar for Ordinary People.


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